Shopping in Amsterdam: a shopper's guide

Amsterdam is swimming in top-notch boutiques, quirky vintage shops, and well-known international brands. Where are the best places to visit shopping in Amsterdam?

Stores, markets, and shopping centers

Shopping in Amsterdam offers something for everyone, from the top fashion names on the PC Hooftstraat to the high-street chains around the Kalverstraat; in the small independent boutiques nestled in the Jordaan, to the long Albert Cuypstraat Markt, where fresh produce, household goods, and textiles are all brought together inside a vibrant mix of scent, sound, and color.

Prices measure along with other major European cities and are just above those who work in Hong Kong. There is a florida sales tax called BTW (omzet belasting), which is usually 19 percent, and often 6 percent (for consumer basics and items such as flowers and books). Many located shops offer tax-free shopping to visitors from non-EU countries; consider the sign up the shop front.

In general, Amsterdam shopping is affordable and enjoyable. Sales assistants could be a bit distant unless you people for assistance, but you won't be pushed right into a purchase. The main annual sales start soon after the Sinterklaas celebrations on 5 December, and the summer sales begin in June. In the clothing sector, most shops possess a quick turnover with the season collections, and lots of products are discounted within a few weeks of developing the shelves. Consider the racks marked uitverkoop, korting, and kopje, or shops that offer kassa korting on selected items.

Be aware that car parks in Centrum are overflowing on busy days. It's simpler to take your bike or trains and buses. There are several excellent shopping malls with parking facilities on the outskirts; Boven t'Y Winkelcentrum is really a mix of high street, open-air markets, and supermarkets. Woonmall Villa Arena and, next to it, ArenA Boulevard are centers for electronics, furniture, plus much more.

Whether tourist or resident, some items are unique to Amsterdam. The city may be the center of the diamond trade and you can buy jewelry or loose stones in one of numerous factories demonstrating diamond cutting. Amsterdam's wealth also originated from the tulip trade; tulip bulbs along with a myriad of other vegetation is available all year within the flower market on the Singel. Souvenir shops all over the city offer the famous Delft blue china for a few euros, as well as the genuine thing visit and study round the many specialist antique shops there.

Online Shopping

Online shops (webwinkels) are popular in the Netherlands. The comforts of shopping out of your armchair and home delivery as well as good consumer protection laws make it a logical choice for many. You can source most products online, from computer equipment, to furniture, to takeaway food. One national supermarket chain, Albert Heijn, has an shopping online service that promises to deliver to your kitchen. Its registration process is straightforward, and part of its website is in English.

There are some methods to pay for goods ordered over the internet: credit card, using iDEAL (the online payment system via your Netherlands banking account), money on delivery (rebours), Paypal, or payment using an Acceptgiro once you get the goods.

It is usual for a delivery fee to become charged and many online shopping sites possess the facility to bill to one address and ship to another. Most sites will also advise what shipping method is being used (courier or post) and offer the choice to track and trace your package.

If ordering something externally of the Netherlands, you'll be prone to customs duties unless the product is under EUR 22. There's also some products which can't be imported since they're forbidden or they require an import license. Detailed information can be acquired in English on the Netherlands tax and customs website.

Refunds and Exchanges

Most shops have a clear returns policy which is displayed through the cashier. To avoid problems keep the receipt and try to return goods in the original packaging. CDs, DVDs, and videotapes which are no more sealed won't be accepted.

Reprinted with permission of Explorer Publishing from Amsterdam Complete Residents’ Guide.

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